Website Review: Coursera.org

I still remember reading Naomi Klein’s cultural manifesto, No Logo, in my first year at university – it was a book angry with the branded world and looking to promote alter-globalisation. Three years later, I remember reading Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat” – his account of how globalisation has acted to level the playing fields in terms of commerce. Today, I cannot even remember the last time someone even mentioned the word “globalisation”. What was – based on my lecturers’ selections of readings – hot topics in 2004 and 2007 is really, really old news in 2013.

A desperate plea to all – never stop learning, ever.

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I am not saying that what I learnt at university is completely irrelevant today – to the contrary, understanding the past is definitely an essential part of understanding the present. But we no longer live in a world where you finish studying in your early twenties. This is the age of life-long learning – embrace it.

Earlier this year I attended the Sanlam Net Prophet Startup Workshop. Something Permjot Valia (startup business coach and angel investor) said stuck with me – who you will be in 5 years time is largely dependent on what you do today, the books/ ebooks you read, the series/ movies/ documentaries you watch, the podcasts you listen to, the people you surround yourself with.

So I cancelled my DSTV subscription – not because I want to be holier-than-thou and not watch series, but because I don’t want to lose days of my life watching “I didn’t know I was pregnant” or “Storage Wars“. I downloaded (thousands) of podcasts to listen to while having my morning coffee. And I made a wish list of skills I wanted to develop.

Website review: Coursera

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A good place to start if you are looking to update your knowledge in your area of expertise or to explore completely new areas of study is Coursera – an education company that partners with the top universities and organisations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.

Discover a course you’re interested in and enroll today

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Choose from 300+ courses in over 20 categories created by 62 Universities from 16 countries.

Learn with 3 million Courserians

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Watch short video lectures, take interactive quizzes, complete peer graded assessments, and interact live with your new classmates and teachers.

Achieve your learning goals and build your portfolio

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Finish your class, receive recognition for a job well done, and achieve your goals, whether they be career, personal, or educational.

Some interesting courses starting soon

Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes

Networks: Friends, Money, and BytesA course driven by 20 practical questions about wireless, web, and the Internet, about how products from companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Ericsson, HP, Skype and AT&T work.

Starting: Sep 16th 2013 (12 weeks)

Understanding Media by Understanding Google

Understanding Media by Understanding GoogleFew people who “just Google it” to find an answer to their every question understand just what the company does (and why). Through this course, you’ll join the minority that really gets it.

Starting: Sep 16th 2013 (6 weeks)

Organizational Analysis

Organizational AnalysisIn this introductory course, you will learn multiple theories of organizational behavior and apply them to actual cases of organizational change.

Starting: Sep 17th 2013 (10 weeks)

International Organizations Management

International Organizations ManagementThis course provides an overview of the management challenges international organizations & NGOs are faced with. You will learn key theoretical frameworks and practical tools to excel in this environment.

Starting: Sep 30th 2013 (5 weeks)

The Wharton MBA Foundation Series

An Introduction to Operations ManagementLearn how to analyze and improve business processes, be it in services or in manufacturing. Learn how to improve productivity, how to provide more choice to customers, how to reduce response times, and how to improve quality.
Starting: Sep 30th 2013 (8 weeks)

An Introduction to MarketingLearn the fundamentals of marketing by getting to the root of customer decision-making. The course will focus on branding strategies, customer centricity and new market entry.

Starting: Oct 14th 2013 (9 weeks)

So much more

Of course Coursera is just the tip of the iceberg and in the weeks to come I hope to explore many of the other online courses out there and share my experiences with you. In the meantime, log onto Coursera, pick a course and try it yourself.